Women, men and children in rural areas need to take preventative measures to improve their health as the state faces a nurse and doctor shortage.
Christine Connor is among a team of four travelling nurses from not-for-profit HealthWISE who are regularly on-site at events designed to bring people together.
She will be at the free CreativiTEA workshop for women being held in Torrington, Drake, Bundarra and Ben Lomond in New England from 17-20 October.
The workshops are being run by Arts NorthWest.
Women will be able to talk, create, listen and learn how to do drypoint printmaking with Armidale-based artist Lizzie Horne and also being able to access health services.
There will also be mental health practitioners women can talk to about issues impacting their lives, whether that is due to depression, anxiety or just a general overall feeling of pressure or worry.
Connor said it is a great opportunity to interact with women while they're enjoying a day of craft and talking among others in similar situation as themselves.
"They've had drought, they've had fires, they've had floods, and they've had so many things come through along with COVID in the last three years," Connor said.
"To think that rural women's livelihoods are governed by the weather and the seasons, is very taxing, especially when they you know they're rearing children."
It comes shortly after a visit by the NSW Australian Medical Association's Dr Michael Bonning who highlighted the urgency of needing more health professionals in the New England region.
Dr Bonning said only about two of 14 positions for senior medical staff are filled by permanents at Armidale Hospital, with the rest being rotated among short-term staff, or locums, with some not even being filled.
The nurses at the workshops will be checking blood pressure and pulses, testing glucose levels and oxygen levels in the blood with oximeters, and asking about their medications.
It is one of many workshops Connor and her team visit, sometimes also with pathologists or dietitians.
For the events with men, there's usually a drawcard such as a sports personality, or free food, and representatives from mental health support organisation Beyond Blue.
At schools, children are taught how to properly brush their teeth.
Self-checking for abnormalities and taking action to prevent illnesses rather than relying on the 15 minute trip to the GP "once every blue moon", is essential, Connor said.
She said with waitlists to doctors or psychologists often being up to six weeks long, people need to make healthier choices to stop otherwise preventable illnesses.
Though regular GP visits to check up on potential genetic diseases are important, she said.
"He might be a fit and healthy young bloke, but his mum and dad might have had heart disease. So therefore, he's (potentially) inherited that," Connor said.
Some of those preventable decisions can relate to healthier food choices, drinking more water to prevent kidney disease, cutting back on alcohol, exercising regularly, de-stressing with breathing exercises, wearing sunblock or quitting smoking.
With breast cancer being among the top five killers of women nationwide, she said women need to know how to look for lumps and other abnormalities, which is what they teach at the workshops.
Dementia, heart disease, cerebrovascular diseases such as strokes, and lung cancer, are the top four leading causes of death among women, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare AIHW.
And prostate cancer for men is the fifth leading cause of death, after heart disease, dementia-related deaths, lung cancer, and cerebrovascular diseases.
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